What is the difference between Macs & PCs in image creation

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by rockdog, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. rockdog macrumors member

    rockdog

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    #1
    What are the reasons why Macs are preferred to PCs when it comes to image creation and retouching? And, how is a PC running the same creation software inferior?

    The reason I ask is because I can get a PC and graphics software much cheaper than a Mac with the same software. That said, our local community college's graphic design program has classes in image production on Macs, but not on PCs. And its a required class.

    Just looking for some insight on this issue.

    Thanks
     
  2. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #2
    It depends on what you are doing - there is no one answer. Tell us the software you intend to use, and what you're planning to do with it...
     
  3. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

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    #3
    Mostly it boils down to what's already entrenched in the industry—which is to say, Macs. However, there are a couple advantages to using a Mac (still) over Windows, even with the same apps. Most notable is the built-in ColorSync color management which is used THROUGHOUT OS X in every app. This helps ensure that no matter where you're working with your image, its color management will be respected all the way through your toolchain. Also, font management on OS X tends to be better than in Windows, especially with great font managers like FontAgent Pro for on-the-fly font activation. Plus, OS X itself has other UI niceties (like Exposé, spring loaded folders, pervasive drag-and-drop, built-in PDF creation from any app, and Preview, the fastest PDF viewer ever) over Windows that, once you get used to them, can make you much more efficient.
     
  4. rockdog thread starter macrumors member

    rockdog

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    #4
    Well I currently create web graphics at work for our intranet site. However, I plan on enrolling in a graphics design program at our community college. At work I use adobe photoshop, but in the future...I can't say for sure
     
  5. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Currently I use windows xp machines due to the main 3D software I use being windows only and the fact I keep waiting for mac updates :(.

    Now with the intel based macs and bootcamp/parallels etc I will be buying a mac as my next desktop pc (probably next year and only if the amd chip isn't superior) which will allow me to get access to os-x programs (such as final cut express) which are only on a mac. Bootcamp allows me to run windows as I would my current rigs but I can still run os-x when the need is there for a superior video editing program (sub £200).

    I'm intending to buy a mac mini (media centre pc) and macbook pro (to take to see clients and set up in dual boot vista/os-x) when leopard/next updates comes out anyway, software isn't a major issue because apart from my 3D software, most of the software is available for both and need to be purchased either way (got to be legal in a business :rolleyes:)
     
  6. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

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    #6
    Yeah you can. Adobe software (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign). Maybe Quark. There isn't any graphic design software of any real significance in the professional world that doesn't run on a Mac.
     
  7. CaptainHaddock macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Also, the design industry is working ever more closely with TV and movie production studios, where Apple software (Final Cut Pro, Motion, etc.) is de rigeur. Keeping everything on a Mac makes integration easy.

    One more factor is that Macs have always been easy to use. Designers and artists who were not technically inclined have always been able to sit down at a Mac and be productive. Being productive in Windows has typically required a lot of knowledge about PC maintenance — driver issues, software installation issues, virus clean-up, etc.
     
  8. AlexisV macrumors 68000

    AlexisV

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    #8
    On an amateur level, there's no inferiority or advantage for either. But if you're even thinking of doing it professionally, learning on the industry standard system is pretty much compulsory.

    As soon as you start getting a bit more serious, PCs can run into problems with fonts, PDF distilling and colour management.

    Productivity wise, OS X is far more suitable for design because you do need to constantly switch between programs and run in a way that doesn't use up the whole screen. Windows is very rigid and features like 'Flip 3D' are pure gimmick, as opposed to the productivity features of OS X such as Expose.
     
  9. zero2dash macrumors 6502a

    zero2dash

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    #9
    Both run the same programs (with a few exceptions like Final Cut which is obviously Mac only since it's an Apple program) and both run the same programs pretty evenly.

    Macs are more efficient and offer better productivity though.

    I went from being a Windows-phile (after 10 years of 95% Windows use and 5% Mac use) to a devout Mac lover after being at my current job for nearly 2 years where I use a G5 every day. There is nothing even close on the Windows platform that makes me feel as productive and happy as working on my Mac every day. I can't wait to get one at home again (hopefully this summer).

    It's awesome to come in to work knowing that the computer I use will "just work" and handle everything I throw at it without slowing to a crawl or becoming bogged down over time. I usually have to re-image my XP system at home every 6-10 months. My Mac at work - I've reinstalled OSX once (when I first started - to clean install/upgrade Panther to Tiger) and it runs as good today as it did after the first boot, which is a testament to Apple and Macs in general.

    Spend the extra money and get a Mac...you won't regret it. :)

    FWIW - any time I have problems with files, it's because they were done through Windows or I'm sending to a Windows PC. You'll never see the opposite (where a Mac has problems with Windows files). Sometimes it's file extension based, but most of the time, it's font problems or other things.
     
  10. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

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    #10
    • One area that has always been an issue is accepting files from other sources.
      Macs can almost always read the files and use the fonts quite transparently.
      Not true with Windows, especially with regard to installing and using older Mac fonts. Incompatibilities are almost always a Windows phenomenon.
    • Some service bureaus and magazines are not happy to accept Windows files into their workflows, and those who attempt to do it are often stigmatized.
    • Another issue is the desktop metaphor implementation.
      For reasons that escape me, Windows mounts disks within the "My Computer" window, instead of on the Desktop.
    • GUI in Windows is more or less vertically biased (every window has a toolbar at the top, and dialogs have top-mounted tabs), while most displays are horizontally biased.
    • Writing files to CD/DVD is also needlessly complex in Windows, with all kinds of wizards and hoops to jump through.
    • Mouse/Cursor movement is different on the Mac, and IMO more suitable for working in graphics applications. The difference is subtle, but it's a deal-breaker once you get used to it.
    • Color management is superior on the Mac and very easy to set up. I know it's possible to setup a Windows machine to have good color rendition, but I haven't personally witnessed it.
    • System settings and configuration panels are needlessly complex, with commonly used settings buried deep in a cryptic hierarchy.
    • Print to PDF from any application is easy in OSX. Third party utilities are required in Windows. Not sure how well they work.
    • Scripting applications to automate tasks is easy in OSX. Almost anything is possible. You don't need programming skills to do it.

    It's a lot of little nits to pick, but cumulatively they add up to a system that is just not optimal for professional creative work, and it's certainly not the lateral move often described by Windows-advocates.

    BTW, one other aspect that is often lost on Windows-advocates is the hardware. Apple hardware, particularly the Mac Pro/Powermac systems, is always very high quality. You cannot easily quantify the differences on a spec sheet, and most Windows-advocates are hung up on CPU clock frequencies and video chipsets, instead of the more important issues of overall compatibility and reliability.
     
  11. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    #11
    • One area that has always been an issue is accepting files from other sources.
    Cant say I have had any issues there but I would say thats more an issue with the program rather than the os, I have passed files back and forth between mac os-x, linux and xp without any issues.
    • Macs can almost always read the files and use the fonts quite transparently.
      Not true with Windows, especially with regard to installing and using older Mac fonts. Incompatibilities are almost always a Windows phenomenon.
    Yeah fonts can be a bit of an issue at times but its usually the more obscure or older fonts which cause issues.
    • Some service bureaus and magazines are not happy to accept Windows files into their workflows, and those who attempt to do it are often stigmatized.
    Well thats just daft, sorry but it is :rolleyes:

    • Another issue is the desktop metaphor implementation.
      For reasons that escape me, Windows mounts disks within the "My Computer" window, instead of on the Desktop.
    Well thats a personal thing, I like my desktop clean of all the clutter and when a usb disk mounts on my system I get the pop up asking if I want to view it etc. Also my start bar is configured (by options) so you can go direct to the drive without clicking into my computer. Having the drive pop ip on the desktop adds another thing to distract while trying to work in my view (transparent windows is the one thing I don't like about os-x)
    • GUI in Windows is more or less vertically biased (every window has a toolbar at the top, and dialogs have top-mounted tabs), while most displays are horizontally biased.
    Depends on the programs - my 3d programs have the info toolbars on all 4 sides of the screen.
    • Writing files to CD/DVD is also needlessly complex in Windows, with all kinds of wizards and hoops to jump through.
    Is it, I usually use nero but I thought that xp was just a drag and drop and then click burn for cd's. DVD burning isnt supported as standard but can be set up in the same way with the correct add in.
    • Mouse/Cursor movement is different on the Mac, and IMO more suitable for working in graphics applications. The difference is subtle, but it's a deal-breaker once you get used to it.
    Subjective and personal thing.
    • Color management is superior on the Mac and very easy to set up. I know it's possible to setup a Windows machine to have good color rendition, but I haven't personally witnessed it.
    Thats definately true, xp is a pita to get right but it can be done but takes an age without tools.
    • System settings and configuration panels are needlessly complex, with commonly used settings buried deep in a cryptic hierarchy.
    Someone who goes from windows to mac would probably say the same - its what you're used to.
    • Print to PDF from any application is easy in OSX. Third party utilities are required in Windows. Not sure how well they work.
    Feature which is severely needed in windows. Acrobat works well though.
    • Scripting applications to automate tasks is easy in OSX. Almost anything is possible. You don't need programming skills to do it.
    Can be done in xp but its not very easy to do.

    Now I'm not disputing your views its just from a primarily xp user (my programs dictate this) I thought it only fair to put the other side across.

    As to hardware. The mac pro is one of the nicest designed pc's in terms of thermal management and internal layout etc on the market (the looks are subjective and you can get similar for a pc anyway). The one issue I have with the mac pro is the lack of option of high end graphics cards. For a device which is aimed at the pro market using a quadro fx4500 which is 2 generations old is just a poor choice. A card which is almost a third cheaper (fx1500) can match it in almost all aspects and the new top of the range fx5600 is nearly twice as fast. Atleast with a pc you can choose to pick the newer graphics card even if you need to pay extra for the upgrades.
     
  12. HiRez macrumors 603

    HiRez

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    #12
    It does somewhat depend on what you're used to, but this is one of the most maddening things about Windows for me. It's not just that settings tend to be buried (which they do), but it's that they're often spread out to three or four different locations. Tell me where in Windows to find network settings...it's not a one-phrase answer.

    Another thing that drives me batty in Windows is those dialogs with multiple rows of tabs...and when you click on one, THE POSITIONS OF ALL THE TABS CHANGES, forcing you to reorient yourself from scratch if you want to select another one. This is really UI design punishable by a slow, cruel death if you ask me.

    And don't even get me started on the toolbars, my god to Windows devs love toolbars! There must be a button for everything!

    word-all-toolbars-small.png
     
  13. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    Norfolk, UK
    #13
    thats why they created widescreen displays :p

    As to network settings - most of it can be accessed by right clicking on the desired network device in network connections. General firewall can quickly be accessed via control panel windows firewall (assuming no non ms one)

    It seems like a hassle for os-x people but for windows users its the usual click click and there it is :)
     
  14. ATD macrumors 6502a

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    #14

    LOL, is that interface for real? It's 90% buttons and 10% work area. I don't use any MS products, that would drive nuts.
     
  15. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    #15
    Absolutely. That gorgeous sea of toolbars is available in the Mac version too!
    Picture-1.jpg
    I did drop the screen down to 1024x768 for this capture, was afraid to try 800x600.
     
  16. joachim macrumors member

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #16
    Weird, but true. Our class went for a "field trip" to a big-name printer and that question was asked and they said that 95% of designers submit Mac files because Windows files often caused problems. It surprised me to hear that.
     
  17. shrimpdesign macrumors 6502a

    shrimpdesign

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    #17
    My graphic deisgn class went on a similar trip to a big printer in Portland, OR, and they said the same: about 95% of the jobs were from people using Macs, and the other 5% was weirdos and flukes.

    The creative market is almost completely dominated by Mac users.
     
  18. rockdog thread starter macrumors member

    rockdog

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    #18
    So is it fair to say that on the creative software side, Windows versions and Mac versions are comparable? The main reasons however to use a Mac are ease of use and because most design/creative groups use them (compatibility)?
     
  19. Dane D. macrumors 6502a

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    ohio
    #19
    Macs work, PCs don't. All right a tad simplistic, but true. I work in an ad agency 12 Macs and 4 PCs, We use Photoshop, Illustrator, QuarkXPress, Acrobat Pro, Painter to name a few, they work flawlessly on the Mac; the PCs lots of crashing programs and system re-boots. The time wasted on PCs equals lost revenue, a big problem if your billing is based on selling time. As for the arguement about video cards - I don't buy it. Mac have cards that work out of the box, no driver issues, no color balance issues. Besides in the 2D world of graphics those expensive cards aren't worth a cent. Pre-press houses do indeed frown on PC files, even ones that are InDesign or QuarkXPress, they just aren't easy to RIP. Fonts and font management on a PC are a joke, on a Mac no problem. Last, the ease of use, anybody can sit down and understand and use a Mac, Windows isn't user friendly period.
     
  20. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    #20
    A windows pc can be just as stable as a mac os-x machine. If you don't add all the junk that home users do then the system can run happily enough without any crashes. It does depend on the setup and the drivers used more often as not but if you have the right ones your system can run fine. My xp (running amd opteron or x2) rigs are quite happy running 40+ hours constant at 100% (well 200% in unix land :)) cpu usage.

    As to graphics card arguement - well in 3D creation which is also used in conjunction with 2D work for a lot of people myself included the graphics are important, old graphics struggle with current iterations of high end 3D software.

    And windows is just as user friendly for a first time user as os-x. Someone who doesn't know that you can drag and drop a program on os-x would have issues with installing software wouldn't they. Most windows programs autorun an installer. And anyways windows must be doing something right with their marketshare :rolleyes:.

    If you an alternative breakdown of mac versus pc here you go.
    Excluding the design of the os as this is as I have said can be configured equally well on either and if you use one long enough you will learn the tricks anyways. Its also a subjective matter and is more personal than one person saying xp is better than os-x or vice versa.

    PRO's
    vista/xp - more common so more software alternatives available,
    cheaper system costs
    software is pretty much identical to mac versions (excluding os differences) when comparing the same program, ie photoshop to photoshop.
    Current hardware available - meaning better for less money in some cases.
    Can add larger range of hardware to machine due to driver based os.

    mac os-x - unix based so less issues with software drivers etc.
    final cut express etc which are not available on pc - there isn't really anything that competes with this on windows.
    Colour accuracy straight out of the box.

    CON's
    vista/xp - drivers, you need good ones and vista is still new so drivers are a bit lacking in some areas.
    virus/adware etc
    Supposed software issues when transfering to a mac - I have not seen this and I am in design myself.
    Not always good with old fonts.
    Colour accuracy needs to be improved on from out of box settings.
    No final cut express
    If you have used mac os-x more then you will find xp hard to start with

    mac os-x
    often older hardware (not on all aspects) but especially in terms of graphics.
    less range of software due to less market share.
    Some hardware is overpriced in relation to what you actually get, macbook (compare to a windows machine of same spec and its about £200 cheaper) and the imac for example.
    Limited range of add on cards etc due to enclosed driver design of the os.
    If you have used windows more then you will find os-x hard to start with
     
  21. AlexisV macrumors 68000

    AlexisV

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    #21
    We've suddenly jumped to first time users here, which isn't really the issue. Productivity wise, Windows just isn't set up to jump between apps easily and lay things out where you need them. It's designed to have your whole screen filled with Excel or Word because you'll probably be using them all day at work. Designers need to jump and hop between programs and different areas of the screen and be quick on everything.

    I liken it to Windows presenting everything you need on a flipchart. You flip back and forth for what you need. OS X is more like a large table where everything is laid out in front of you - grab what you need and lay it in front of you.

    Vista's Flip3D and OS X's Expose both symbolise the two systems' approaches.
     
  22. Earendil macrumors 68000

    Earendil

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    #22
    From the point of view of a Computer Scientist...
    When coding I am generally in a single application, and a single window. I could care less which OS is running in the background, as long as it doesn't crash my program, or fail its self. In fact I don't even interact with the file system all that much.
    (Though XP's inability to sometimes draw windows drives me batty).
    That said, at work I use Windows XP 100%, and my education was Windows based.

    In my short experience with web dev work was extremely different. Here my education was also on a windows machine (I blame small uni population for that). However I often times brought my PowerBook into class and used it instead. Yes, Macromedia Flash was the same, so were many other apps. However the problem arose when I tried to use many different apps.
    FireFox
    IE (and Safari when on my Mac)
    HTML Editor
    Macromedia Flash
    Photoshop
    Extensive use of the Finder/Explorer
    Not to mention multiple personal apps.

    In XP I honestly felt claustrophobic. I needed to see all my windows at once, jump between them fast, and make my corrections/edits. Preview my work in multiple browsers, and continue work. OSX felt more fluid, and I'd go so far as to say it *was* more fluid. I think anyone watching someone work on both would feel the same by just observing.

    Take you pick as to which your work is similar too.
     
  23. Jookbox macrumors 6502

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    #23
    my experiences, 9 years as a designer and counting...

    first off, a computer is just a tool and if you're open minded enough :rolleyes: you can adapt. in a nutshell i find coding and front end dev for web pages much easier on a pc. dreamweaver was built for the pc and ported over to the mac. it always felt weird on a mac for me. as far as graphic design i'm very comfortable on both, but if i had to choose it would be the mac. just like a lot of people, i'm inspired simply by using os x. it's a great interface when you have to be creative.

    as far as convenience in the workplace, 98% of the fonts i get from clients are not pc compatible. also if i get a flash asset built on a mac, quite often it looks weird on a pc when i re-export (and vice versa). these are just a couple examples... even if you don't like macs, it's just a lot smoother if you're on same platform as everyone else.

    your best option is to have the patience to get acquainted on both. you might end up using both like i do. and those of you with the canned answers like 'macs just work', please wake up it's not 1997 and pc users aren't using win 98 anymore. i got my dell in october and it hasn't crashed once.
     
  24. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    #24
    I was taking into account the potential context of the first poster who does not say if they own or have used one over the other. Maybe the meaning of my post wasn't as clear as it could have been.

    If the intended user has used neither os then windows can be just as user friendly as os-x, I am far more productive in an os I am familiar with than one I am not, its the same principle as if someone who has been using their right hand all their life is forced to use their left hand to draw a picture.

    Anyway I suggested getting a intel mac at the top anyways, you can use both os's and in conjunction with a virtualisation program can run windows and mac programs together without any issues (assuming no specific hardware requirements etc)

    EDIT: and I hate the windows vista flip to, its too much hassle, give me a nice windows plugin for xp called taskswitcher :)
     

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